Royse Stone isn’t protected, says Royston author in new book

Royston author Peter Ranson at the Royse Stone with his new book. Picture: Steve Bond

Royston author Peter Ranson at the Royse Stone with his new book. Picture: Steve Bond - Credit: Archant

A Royston author who delved into the history of its landmarks and buildings has discovered that the stone the town was named after has no official protection.

Peter Ranson has found that the Royse Stone, at The Cross, is not listed on any record of historically significant points of interest.

He said: “I’d like to know: Why isn’t our Royse Stone protected?

“As there is no official protection for it – in theory at least – that means there’s nothing to stop it being swept away in the future.

“Surely our founding stone must be protected?”

The book – Royston’s Heritage Buildings – was released yesterday and covers all 161 listed buildings in Royston, together with all 32 buildings contained in North Herts District Council’s Royston Register of Buildings of Local Interest.

Included are photographs of exterior elevations of all the buildings plus some maps and plans, as well as all four Grade I-listed buildings – such as King James’ Palace in Kneesworth Street and the Church of St John the Baptist in Melbourn Street – together with the 11 Grade II*-listed and 146 Grade II-listed structures.

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Peter said: “Every day the people of Royston are walking past some remarkable buildings and I wanted this book to widen people’s knowledge of their built heritage. If it increases interest in Royston as a place, with its rich history, that would be marvellous.

“I’ve lived in Royston for more than 30 years. My wife and I are often taken aback by the many fine old buildings that fill the view of the town from London Road, and I decided to find out more about them. That’s how it all started.”

Peter has also discovered what appears to be a previously unknown pub.

He said: “During my research, I was surprised how few original deeds were available.

“However, the earliest deeds from 69 High Street from 1737 refer to the building being known as the Ship and Cannon.

“That sounds remarkably like a pub to me, but to date it’s never been listed in any other official documents – so it’s a totally new piece of the Royston jigsaw which I’m very happy to have unearthed.”

Peter launched his book at the museum on Thursday as part of a book showcase, which also featured Sylvia Beamon speaking about her book on the 1991 Royston gas incident and Phil Smith on his research and subsequent book on 18th and 19th century billheads. Published by the Royston and District Local History Society, Peter’s book is available from them at, The Cave Shop and the district museum, as well as WHSmith in High Street.